Oil Capitals heat up to beat Blizzard

The Virden Oil Capitals enjoyed a successful weekend as they swept the OCN Blizzard.

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League team downed the Blizzard, 5-2, in front of 751 on Friday at Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Tundra Oil & Gas Place.

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Then, on Saturday, 693 looked on as the hometown squad captured a 6-3 victory. Including a 3-2 loss on the road to Waywayseecappo on Nov. 12, Virden had a 12-11-1-2 record after the weekend. The Oil Caps sat seventh in the MJHL standings.

“We are obviously pleased with our weekend and getting four points and back over .500,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “I think two things stand out for me. We have been playing with better structure as of late. That is starting to allow us to be better as a group. I liked our compete level over the last handful of games and we have been able to stay with the game plan even when we get down.
“Also our special teams have been better and that is certainly something that can make a positive difference in games.”

The Oil Caps featured three of the MJHL’s top five scorers as of Sunday. Captain Kolten Kanaski led the league with 36 points in 26 games. Hunter Cloutier was third with 31 and Virden’s own Tanner Andrew was fifth with 27.

On Nov. 12 in Waywayseecappo, Andrew scored first but the hosts held intermission leads of 2-1 and 3-1. The Oil Caps battled back with a Brett Paddock goal but could not tie things up. Riley Wallace started in net for Virden and made 12 saves on 15 shots before Kyle Kozma came on in relief. He stopped all 17 shots he faced.

At home last Friday, the Oil Caps used a three goal third period to turn a 2-1 lead into a 5-2 victory. In that frame, Kanaski got things started with a shorthanded goal. OCN answered but Dylan Halliday and Colin Cook, with an empty net marker, capped the game with goals. Kozma made 24 saves. The team wore special purple warm-up jerseys which were sold in a silent auction to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

After trailing 1-0 following the first period on Saturday night, the Oil Capitals exploded for three goals in both the second and third periods. That propelled them to a 6-3 win. Wallace made 11 saves on 14 shots. Kozma made 16 saves on as many shots after he entered the game.

Halliday lit the lamp twice for Virden. Andrew, Kanaski, Owen Blocker, and Jayden Wojciechowski also got in on the Oil Capitals scoring.

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